Dr. Jill Payne, principal of Hawks Nest STEAM Academy, shows off the North Carolina STEM School of Distinction award.

Hawks Nest earns N.C. STEM School of Distinction title

Hawks Nest STEAM Academy is recognized across Gaston County for its focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.  Now, Hawks Nest has gained attention at the state level for earning the North Carolina STEM School of Distinction title. 
The Department of Public Instruction and State Board of Education began recognizing schools in 2014 for outstanding efforts in STEM education.  Hawks Nest is one of only 16 schools statewide to earn the STEM model school designation, and it is the only model school winner for 2020.
The award recognizes Hawks Nest for its concentrated emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics across the curriculum, according to Dr. Jill Payne, principal.
Hawks Nest STEAM Academy opened in August 2016 as the only elementary magnet school in Gaston County with a focus on STEAM.  Becoming a model school was on the radar from the beginning. 
“We started the process four years ago by looking at the STEM rubric and using the information to create the foundation for our school,” she said, adding that it takes most schools a number of years to prepare for the application process.  “It’s been a group effort since we started the process.  Our staff chartered our course from day one.  They sat down and created a plan, and we have worked together to make it happen.”
STEM Schools of Distinction are recognized by the Department of Public Instruction for exemplifying outstanding leadership and challenging students to think creatively.  With a focus on teamwork, teachers and staff help students develop the ability to reason and embrace essential STEM attributes they need to be successful in today’s society.
“One of our main goals is to make sure our school is a place where students thrive.  They’re growing academically because of our efforts to take a whole-school approach to the STEM curriculum and also integrating the arts,” she said.  
Of the schools that applied, Hawks Nest was selected as one of the top 36, which led to a follow-up visit to further explore the school’s qualifications.  The follow-up was done virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.  While it usually takes 24 hours to find out the results, Hawks Nest received confirmation only three hours after its presentation.
“It’s been very exciting,” Payne said of the process.  “There are so many good things going on here at Hawks Nest, and I’m so proud of the work that is being done.”
Payne says even more important than the recognition is seeing her students grow in their love for learning.
“To watch our students accomplish the things they can do, it is amazing,” she said. “To see them connect with something they love and something they might want to do when they’re older, that has been very powerful to experience.”
Karen Duncan

IT specialist develops Gaston College course that receives Quality Matters Certification

(December 31, 2020 Issue)

The Professional Development course at Gaston College has received certification from Quality Matters, the global organization that leads quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. The course teaches realistic career-building skills and motivates students toward improving both personal and professional performance. The QM Certification Mark is the internationally recognized symbol of online and blended course design quality.
 Professional Development is included in the curriculum for the Office Systems Technology program at Gaston College and is an elective for other programs, such as Accounting, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Paralegal Technology. It is the first course that Gaston College has submitted for Quality Matters Certification and it earned the certification after a rigorous review process which provided validation of its quality, learner-focused design.
 Karen Duncan, Instructional Technology Specialist and Accessibility Liaison for all eLearning content, developed the course. To be certified, a course must meet the 42 Standards and 23 Essential Standards in the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric. A score of 85 percent is required for certification, but the Professional Development course scored 100 percent. Prior to submitting the course for certification, Duncan completed several professional development programs through Quality Matters to learn what would be required for a course to meet the Standards. Those courses included Quality Matters Coordinator Training, Design That Welcomes Your Learners, Improving Your Online Course, Apply the Quality Matters Rubric, and Designing Your Online Course. She also took their Peer Reviewer Certification course so that she can participate in the process to review courses that others may submit to QM for certification.
 Duncan has worked at Gaston College since 1999 and has served as faculty and department chair of Office Systems Technology and Business Administration. She earned her master’s in Educational Media and Instructional Technology from Appalachian State University and holds certificates in Information Accessibility Design and Policy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in Advanced Technologies in Distance Education from the University of West Georgia.
 Duncan is responsible for the effective integration of technology into the online instructional areas of Gaston College, including both curriculum and continuing education. In that capacity, she fosters effective teaching and learning in the areas of distance learning and instructional technology, recommends new instructional delivery systems and hardware and software applications, and identifies the training needs and provide appropriate development opportunities for faculty in the application of technology in instruction, among other responsibilities. She also teaches Office Technology Systems curriculum courses to Gaston College students.

Takasha Morrow -   Carr Elementary 

Carr Elementary fourth grade teacher Takasha Morrow was the recipient of 100 books through the  Charlotte Hornets “Pick and Read” literacy program. The program features an author reading and discussing his or her book with students in a virtual setting. Mrs. Morrow was selected as the October winner from over 50 teachers who participated in the webinar.

Board of Education elects chairman and vice chairman

The Gaston County Board of Education conducted its organizational meeting on Monday, December 7 to select a chairman and vice chairman to serve for the next two years.
At-large member Jeff Ramsey was elected by the Board to serve as chairman, and at-large member Dot Cherry was elected to serve as vice chairman.
The organizational meeting took place following the induction ceremony for elected officials.
During the 9:00 a.m. induction ceremony at the Gaston County Schools Central Office, Dot Guthrie, Robbie Lovelace, Brent Moore, and Jeff Ramsey were sworn in to serve on the Board of Education.  The Honorable David A. Phillips, superior court judge, presided and administered the oath of office.
Guthrie, Moore, and Ramsey were reelected to the Board during the November 3 general election.  Lovelace was elected to the Board for the first time.  They will serve four-year terms.
The first regular meeting for the newly-organized Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, December 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Gaston County Schools Central Office.  The meeting will air live on Spectrum Channel 21 and the Gaston County Board of Education YouTube channel.

Gaston County Board of Education
Jeff Ramsey, At-Large Member, Chairman
Dot Cherry, At-Large Member, Vice Chairman
Kevin Collier, Riverbend Township
Justin Davis, South Point Township
Lee Dedmon, Gastonia Township
Dot Guthrie, Gastonia Township
Steve Hall, Dallas Township
Robbie Lovelace, Cherryville Township
Brent Moore, Crowders Mountain Township

Holy Angels Luminary Display

Holy Angels, 6600 Wilkinson Blvd., will invite the people being honored or the families of loved ones being memorialized to its first luminary display, Celebrate Joy, Celebrate Life: Share the Light!. These luminaries, angels and signs will be placed throughout the Holy Angels campus. The public is invited on December 20th  6-8pm to drive through campus and listen to the story of Holy Angels along with some Christmas music while experiencing this powerful light exhibit. With other Christmas events being canceled or minimalized this season, this is a chance to make family memories from the safe distance of your own car.      Photos by Shawn Flynn
Jasmine Cox will serve a three-year term as a Director on the advisory board for the Advanced Textiles Products division of Industrial Fabrics Association International. She is a Process Coordinator for Testing and has worked for the Textile Technology Center of Gaston College since 2015.

Gaston College Textile Technology Center employee will serve on textile division advisory board

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

Jasmine Cox, Process Coordinator for Testing at the Gaston College Textile Technology Center in Belmont has been selected to serve a three-year term as a Director on the Advisory Board for the Advanced Textiles Products division of Industrial Fabrics Association International. IFAI is a not-for-profit trade association comprising member companies representing the international specialty fabrics marketplace.
Cox earned her bachelor’s degree in textile technology from NC State in 2013. She was pursuing her master’s degree in engineering management at UNC-Charlotte when, while driving on I-85, she spotted a sign for the Textile Technology Center. She contacted the Center and was invited by Sam Buff, Director of the TTC, to tour the facility. That tour resulted in the offer of an internship. In 2015, Cox joined the Textile Technology Center as an intern working part-time as a testing technician in the Physical Testing laboratory.
Cox was surprised and honored to learn of her appointment to the advisory board. The IFAI is the largest, most comprehensive textile trade association and its ATP division supports the safety/protective, interactive, medical, performance wear/sports, and technical textiles industries. The Textile Technology Center is actively engaged in research and development in those areas.
“As a member of the IFAI Advanced Textiles Products Advisory Board, I hope to continue to make people aware of the various innovations and opportunities that exist within the different divisions of the textile industry,” said Cox. “As an advisory board member, I hope to help grow the IFAI membership and programs and to expand the organization’s visibility.”
Working at the TTC solidified Cox’s interest and passion to continue her career in the textile industry. She will receive her Master of Textiles from Wilson College of Textiles at NC State in December 2020 and obtaining her Ph.D. in Textile Management is on her short-term goal list.
Congratulations to Jesse Birnstihl, English teacher, at Ashbrook High School, for receiving the North Carolina English Teachers Association Outstanding Teacher of the Year award. Birnstihl was nominated by principal Rebecca Wilson for seeing students as individuals and caring about each one despite their social acceptance, family structure, or future plans. “Mr. Birnstihl is one of the most hardworking educators I know. He works tirelessly to prepare interactive lessons that challenge his students and make them better students as well as better citizens. In addition, he is a sponsor for the school’s Slam Poetry Club, which allows students to express themselves through the art of poetry.” Gaston Schools photo

Gaston County Schools Good News - November 2020

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

The following “good news” was presented to the Gaston County Board of Education for the month of November 2020:
Students from H.H. Beam Elementary, Belmont Central Elementary, Belmont Middle, Cramerton Middle, East Gaston High School, North Gaston High School, Pinewood Elementary, Pleasant Ridge Elementary, and Rankin Elementary participated in the Mount Holly Lantern Parade, which was held in a reverse format this year because of the pandemic.  Students displayed their own handmade lanterns alongside other lanterns that complemented the “Our Greatest Show on Earth” theme.
The Cramerton Community Committee provided a total of 1,580 cloth masks to the following schools: Page Primary; McAdenville Elementary; New Hope Elementary; and Belmont Central Elementary.
Dr. Cristi Bostic, executive director of secondary instruction, and Dr. Derrick Jackson, executive director of elementary instruction, completed the Aspiring Superintendents Program, which is sponsored by the North Carolina School Superintendents Association.
The following school cafeterias received a 100 percent sanitation grade: H.H. Beam Elementary, W.B. Beam Intermediate, Belmont Central Elementary, Bessemer City Primary, John Chavis Middle, Cherryville High School, Cherryville Elementary, Kiser Elementary, Lowell Elementary, McAdenville Elementary, Page Primary, Springfield Elementary, and Woodhill Elementary.
Ashbrook High School teacher Jesse Birnstihl was selected as the North Carolina English Teachers Association’s Outstanding English Teacher of the Year.
Ashbrook High School student Devan Gilmore conducted a community service project and collected 25 coats for students at Woodhill Elementary.
The following students were chosen as the “Do the Right Thing” award winners for October: Cain Beheler, Sherwood Elementary; Hector Mendez Hernandez, W.C. Friday Middle; and Ben Hayes, Cherryville High School.
W.B. Beam Intermediate received a $1,000 donation from the Don and Carla Beam Family Foundation to purchase extra medical and health supplies.
Belmont Middle School counselor Dr. Ami Parker, who serves as president of the North Carolina School Counselor Association, was invited to serve as an adviser for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s bullying campaign.
The Belmont Middle School staff was treated to a delicious lunch sponsored by Ranucci’s Food Truck, Blake Construction, and Sundrop.
Bessemer City High School teacher Jason Crawford received a $2,000 grant from Pisgah Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church to purchase a software program for his class.
Students at Brookside Elementary and Robinson Elementary had the opportunity to observe and learn about the different parts of a helicopter.  Gaston County police officer Danny Hubbard coordinated the program.
Brookside Elementary received a North Carolina flag from N.C. Representative John Torbett.
Carr Elementary kindergarten teacher Ashley Loftis was selected as a James Patterson and Scholastic Books Club Partnership grant winner.  She received $500 and 10,500 bonus points to purchase STEM items for her classroom.  In addition, fourth grade teacher TaKasha Morrow won 100 books from the Charlotte Hornets’ Pick and Read webinar.
Carr Elementary kindergarten students were able to enjoy a pumpkin patch at school.  The Town of Dallas and the Dallas Police Department donated 100 pumpkins and Walmart in Dallas provided eight large pumpkins for the classrooms.  Dr. Rebekah Duncan, principal, read the book “Pumpkin, Pumpkin” to the students, who were able to pick out their own pumpkin.
Cherryville High School students Landrie Wofford and Ben Hayes worked together to sponsor “Kindness Week” activities.  Students dressed in orange to make a statement about bullying and wore hats as a fundraiser.  Additionally, the students put inspiring messages in various locations around the school, painted a mural, and placed “Spread Kindness Not Germs” banners at the school entrances.
The Stuart W. Cramer High School Stagestruck Players presented “A Cemetery Walk Through Time” at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Gastonia.  Students gave tours through the cemetery and introduced tour participants to people from the past.  The event served as a fundraiser for the school’s theater arts program.
The Stuart W. Cramer High School counseling department participated in New York Life Insurance’s Grief Sensitive Schools Initiative and was awarded a $500 grant for making the school a grief sensitive educational facility.  Additionally, teachers received professional training and resources to help students when they are grieving.
Walmart in Dallas provided W.C. Friday Middle School with funds for the school’s “Leader in Me Seven Habits” pumpkin decorating contest.  Students selected one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as a theme for decorating their classroom’s pumpkin.  The best-decorated pumpkins received prizes and the top class received the school spirit stick.
The Gaston County Virtual Academy held a drive-through event for K-5 students and teachers to pick up t-shirts, books, cupcakes, and other items.
Highland School of Technology senior Ann Russell is this year’s winner of the DAR Good Citizen Essay Contest, which is sponsored by the Major William Chronicle Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Highland School of Technology teachers Jennifer Ackerman, Maddie Boyles, Star Edwards, Jennifer Gallagher, Laura Long, Kenneth Pasour, and Matt Renegar received education grants from Pisgah Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia.
Lingerfeldt Elementary conducted a school beautification day with help from members of First ARP Church in Gastonia.  Volunteers cut down several trees and bushes around the school and put down pine straw.  In addition, Home Depot donated 15 bags of mulch.
The Rankin Elementary PTA purchased a new stage curtain for the school.
Warlick Academy counselor Grant Sparks presented a conference workshop titled “It Takes More than Guidance” for the North Carolina School Counselor Association.  Additionally, Hunter Huss High School counselor Heather Griffin presented a workshop titled “Leaving Guidance Behind: The New Frontier of School Counseling.”


(December 3, 2020 Issue)

Congratulations to Paramedic Cameron Keller, EMT Bridget Wilkinson, and Act. Lieutenant Tia Slone for an outstanding job at successfully resuscitating a patient in traumatic cardiac arrest. Pictured above, these excellent clinicians are holding their Trauma Save challenge coins to honor their achievement. Well done! 

GEMS photos

NC tightens existing mask requirements and enforcement

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

Last week, NC Governor Roy Cooper issued additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement as cases continue to rise rapidly in North Carolina and across the country. Executive Order No. 180 went into effect on Wednesday, November 25 and runs through Friday, December 11.
“I have a stark warning for North Carolinians: We are in danger,” Governor Cooper said. “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many.”
In addition to extending Phase 3 capacity limits and safety requirements, the Order tightens the existing statewide mask requirement – making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. The Order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining 6 feet of distance; gyms even when exercising; all schools public and private; and all public or private transportation when travelling with people outside of the household.
The Order also requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, updated North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map due to the rapid rise in cases and hospitalization over the past week. Since introducing the system last week, ten more counties have moved into the red category indicating critical community spread. There are now 20 red counties and 42 orange counties. Gaston County is red.
“The coming weeks will be a true test of our resolve to do what it takes to keep people from getting sick, to save lives, and to make sure that if you need hospital care whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19, you can get it,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
 also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is increasing.
Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is increasing.
Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days- North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is increasing slightly.
Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days-North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is increasing.
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.
Testing- Testing capacity is high.
Tracing Capability- The state is continuing to hire contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments.
Personal Protective Equipment- North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.
Bob Sweeten, Holly Wright Maurer, Karen Hite Jacob, Rebecca Miller Saunders, Eddie Ferrell. John Jacob, photographer

Carolina Pro Musica presents
an 18th-century Christmas

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

Carolina Pro Musica continues Season 43 with their annual holiday concert on December 19, 2020 at 7:00 PM. A variation on a Lessons and Carol Service, the ensemble invites the audience to participate on several familiar selections. The rest of the program features works by Bach, Crüger, Maria Peruchona, and Michel Corrette.
No program would be complete without chant so we begin with the familiar “Veni, Emanuel”, an Advent hymn known to most as “O come, O Come Emmanuel. Other familiar works include “Sleeper’s Wake”, “Good Christian Men, rejoice and “O come all ye Faithful.” Selections from Bach’s Magnificat and Franz Gruber’s “Silent Night” with the original accompaniment by guitar offer familiar music. A Christmas motet “Ad Gaudia” by Maria Peruchona, an Ursuline nun from northern Italy, adds a bit of unknown lovely music to the season.
The story of Christ including prophecy, birth, visits by the shepherds and kings and the incarnation are told by Bob Sweeten, actor and longtime radio personality on the Bob & Sheri syndicated morning show that originates in Charlotte. Sweeten makes his 12th appearance with Carolina Pro Musica.  Readings are scripture and poetry. Carolina Pro Musica appears in period attire and performs on period instruments.
Due to Covid-19 this concert will be prerecorded at Belmont Abbey Basilica and premier on Carolina Pro Musica’s YouTube channel at the time of the concert.
Online viewers are asked to support the production through contributions by mail, through www.carolinapromusica.org or on Facebook.
Carolina Pro Musica
 Karen Hite Jacob, director, harpsichord, chamber organ, Rebecca Miller Saunders, soprano
 Holly Wright Maurer, recorder, viola da gamba, Edward Ferrell, recorders, traverso, guitar
Carolina Pro Musica was founded in 1977 to perform “Early music” – using period instruments and voice in the styles of the musical periods in which it was written.

Attention college students! 

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

The Gaston County Museum is looking for spring interns to work in its Curatorial Department. This is a great opportunity to work with a team of museum professionals on exhibit planning and installation. For more information on applying, visit www.gastoncountymuseum.org under JOIN, or contact our Curator at Hannah.Musselwhite@gastongov.com.   Gaston County photo
Susan McDonald

GCPL welcomes new Library Director

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

By Dandria Bradley

Gaston County has named the new director for the public library. Susan McDonald started on Monday, October 19 and received a warm   reception from library staff members. Susan previously worked at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in various capacities. In her more than 18 years with the   library system, she has served as a Reference Librarian and Associate Director.
During her time there, she co-developed and led their internal Leadership Development       Program, and was a leader of the WorkSmart Initiative that won the Urban Libraries Council award for innovative practices in libraries.
Susan graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in   Recreation and Leisure Management and received her MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Susan was born and raised in North Carolina and has lived in all parts of the state except the coast.
While in graduate school, she worked in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University, where she stayed for seven years before moving to Charlotte and working at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Susan is excited to be with GCPL.
“I am passionate about providing excellent customer   service to patrons and staff.     Developing staff strengths, discovering unmet community needs, and using innovative thinking to enhance both is the fuel that keeps me energized. I am privileged and excited to     collaborate with all the communities in Gaston County to show how the Library can make a positive impact and become an essential resource within each community,” she said.
After leaving Charlotte, Susan moved to Gastonia with her spouse and youngest son. Her three adult children still live in Charlotte.

County launches new way to pay tax bills during COVID-19

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

The Gaston County tax department is offering residents a new and hassle-free way to pay their tax bills. During the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this offers an option that does not require leaving your vehicle to make your payment.
The county is leasing an old bank branch, located at 405 N. Chester St., in Gastonia, and set up services to do drive-through tax bill payments for residents who wish to pay in person by cash or check. This eliminates the need for face-to-face contact, making this payment method a safer and contact-less option for citizens and county employees alike.
It will operate Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Non-cash payments may also be made by utilizing drop boxes at the tax office, located at the Gaston County Administration Office, 128 W. Main Ave., in Gastonia. The drop boxes are located on each side of the rear entrance doors of the building.
Residents can also mail their payments to the Gaston County Tax Department, P.O. Box 1578, Gastonia, NC, 28053. Additionally, online credit card payments are accepted at https://gastonnc.devnetwedge.com/ or can be made over the phone by calling 1-855-976-3866.

Community Relief Organization fundraiser

(December 3, 2020 Issue)

For over 20 years, Mount Holly has rung in their holiday season with many traditions, such as the Christmas Parade and the Mount Holly CRO Community Concert. Due to COVID-19, the city is unable to hold these events.
In past years, Mount Holly CRO has raised up to $10,000 to help with their mission of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors”. After successfully moving their annual “Music to Fight Hunger” fundraiser to a virtual format (raising over three times their original goal),the leadership of the Community Relief Organization partnered with Mount Holly First United Methodist Church, who typically hosts the community concert, to produce a Christmas special that will be online-only. They hope to raise $10,000 to fight hunger in the Mount Holly area in this one-night event on December 5th at 7:00 PM.
Members of the community have stepped up to help host and perform in the program. If you tune into the event, you will find civic leaders, radio and TV personalities, local pastors, praise bands, and choirs all spreading the cheer of Christmas and supporting the CRO’s mission.
Performers in the event include: Finish Line Christian Center, First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Holly, For the Love of Technology, The Heights (Catawba Heights Baptist Church), Mt. Holly Fire Department, Mt. Holly First United Methodist Church, Mt. Holly Police Department, The Pointe Church, Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church, Rhythm Church, The Summit Beer Shop, The Vintage Nest, Wesley Chapel Holiness Church, Mayor Bryan Hough, Garrie Brinkley, Bobby Black, Jim Huggins, L. Reeves McGlohon, and Ramona Holloway.
In addition to the Virtual event, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Youth Group of Mount Holly First United Methodist Church have distributed flyers to many of the neighborhoods of Mount Holly and will be collecting food on the day of the event. This event will be hosted online via Facebook Live on the Mount Holly CRO facebook page as well as on the event’s website, www.mounthollychristmas.org
For more information about this event, visit www.mounthollychristmas.org

Park Street Methodist Church to host Bluegrass on the Lawn with Trinity River Band

(November 19, 2020 Issue)

Park Street Methodist Church, 120 Park Street,  Belmont, will host  Bluegrass on the Lawn with Trinity River Band, Sunday November 22nd at 6:00pm. Please bring your own lawn chair. Donations will be taken for the band. Question/Info, please call the church office at 704-825-8480.

Gaston Day students decorate picnic tables

(November 12, 2020 Issue)

Gaston Day School eighth grade art students worked on a project to turn  picnic tables into functional art.
Because students are spending more time in outdoor spaces,  eighth grade parents donated twelve tables for the GDS community to use.
The students created their own designs with a partner, and  incorporated an element from the “portrait of a graduate” into their designs.
Portrait of a Graduate : Gaston Day School Spartans pursue scholarship and knowledge as a means to…create solutions, collaborate, and drive innovation within their world, discover their unique talents and ignite their passions, embrace their humanity and diversity, approach opportunities and challenges with self-motivation and resilience, achieve a life of curiosity, balance, and purpose.
These tables have added a lot of color and energy to the GDS Campus. Good job Eighth Grade!
Elks Lodge President Joe Heavner presented a check to Meals on Wheels Director Selina Pate.

Gaston’s Meals on Wheels
receives grant from Elks Lodge

(November 12, 2020 Issue)

The Meals on Wheels-Gaston program announced  that it received a grant from the Gastonia Elks Lodge #1634 through funding from the Elks National Foundation.
Annually, the Gastonia Elks Lodge gives grant funding to four different organizations in the community. This year, the Meals on Wheels-Gaston program received the Gratitude Grant for $2,500. Elks Lodge President Joe Heavner presented the check to Meals on Wheels Director Selina Pate. Also in attendance for the presentation were Tom Brooks, Elks Lodge Grant Coordinator, Elks Lodge members Beth Lattimore and Joel Phillips, and Meals on Wheels-Gaston staff members, Maren Brown and Amanda Dawson.
The Meals on Wheels-Gaston program ensures that seniors have access to nutritious food, as many of them lack the family support, mobility, or resources to provide this necessity on their own. The program also makes it possible for seniors, who are often alone, to receive a friendly visit each day from a volunteer. Along with that visit, volunteers perform a safety check with each meal delivery. In case of an emergency or problem, the volunteers can call for medical assistance, as well as notify family members.
For those seniors who have mobility, Meals on Wheels serves meals at six sites throughout Gaston County: Belmont, Bessemer City, Cherryville, Dallas, Gastonia, and Mount Holly. If you would like more information about the Meals on Wheels-Gaston program, please call 704-862-7540.
City of Lowell photo

Lowell Police Department 2nd Annual Food Drive

(November 12, 2020 Issue)

The Lowell Police Department is happy to announce its second annual food drive. The food drive started November 1st, 2020 and ends December 15th, 2020. You can drop off food and non-perishable items anytime at the Lowell Police Department. If there is no one at the office at the time, you can leave it in the lobby. All foods collected will go to a local food bank in Lowell. 
Gaston Schools photo

Pumpkins for Carr Elementary

(November 12, 2020 Issue)

Thanks to the Town of Dallas, the Dallas Police, Chief Walls, and the Dallas Walmart for providing the pumpkins for the Carr Elementary Kindergarten Pumpkin Patch. Usually, Carr kindergarten students have their first school field trip to the pumpkin patch, but that was not possible this year.  Dr. Duncan read Pumpkin, Pumpkin and each student picked a pumpkin. The students were so excited. Thanks to everyone who made this happen. 

Marie Beard

Keeping a positive attitude is on the menu for cafeteria manager Marie Beard

Marie Beard encourages students to always keep a positive attitude no matter what challenges arise.  It’s advice that the cafeteria manager at Forestview High School knows well.
Beard, who is serving in her 17th year as a cafeteria manager in Gaston County Schools, began her school nutrition career when her husband was diagnosed with cancer.  Working in school cafeterias, she was able to have a job and still care for her family.
Beard is familiar with the ins and outs of running a school cafeteria.  Graduating from Ashbrook High School in 1981, she worked at Hunter Huss High School as a cafeteria assistant.  She also has served as the cafeteria manager at North Belmont Elementary, Page Primary, and Hawks Nest STEAM Academy.
While her day-to-day duties vary from preparing meals to delegating assignments and monitoring food safety, Beard says her favorite part of working in the cafeteria is getting to see the students.
“It is a pleasure to serve meals for our students,” she said. “I love getting to interact with them and to watch them grow each and every day.”
It’s a trait that Forestview principal Crystal Houser says makes Beard stand out.
“Marie truly cares about our students at Forestview High School,” she said. “She and her staff work tirelessly to ensure our students’ nutritional needs are addressed, and she goes above and beyond every day for our school.  Best of all, she always has a good attitude and keeps a positive outlook.”
Houser said staying positive is important during challenging times such as the coronavirus pandemic.  She has watched Beard and her staff make adjustments to their daily routine – changes that have been necessary in an effort to always do what is best for students. 
All cafeterias in Gaston County Schools have a sanitation rating of at least 98 percent, giving them an A+ grade for making sure that meals are prepared in a healthy and safe environment.  Beard takes particular pride in the 99-point score at Forestview High School, knowing that she and her colleagues are looking out for the students and staff while preparing breakfasts and lunches.  It’s a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly.
Having served 25 years in local government and state jobs – Beard previously worked for the Gastonia Police Department for more than seven years as a telecommunications supervisor – she knows the importance of making a difference in the world around you.
Beard is grateful that she gets to make a difference while managing the cafeteria at Forestview High School.  And as for her favorite meal?  That’s an easy one.
“The oven-roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans,” she says with a smile.
Najira Davis

Davis is Gaston College SGA President for 2020-2021

 Najira A. Davis is the current president of the Gaston College Student Government Association. She began her term in office in August 2020. Davis has attended Gaston College since 2016, her freshman year at Gaston Early College High School. The GECHS program enables Davis to graduate in May 2021 with both her high school diploma and her Associate in Applied Science degree.
Davis started volunteering with SGA in 2018 and became a senator with the organization in 2019. “I wanted to be SGA president because I saw it as an opportunity to help make an impact,” she said. “As president I know there are many responsibilities and duties, not to mention that the president is the voice for all students at the College. I wanted to be a part of that, to help students be heard and make sure they know they have people here for them.”
After Gaston College, Davis plans to attend East Carolina University to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing and then a master’s in midwifery. She wants to work as a Certified Nurse-Midwife. “My career goal is to help as many people as possible,” she said, “and put the people I care for first.”
While serving as SGA president, however, Davis wants to help ensure that students enjoy their time at Gaston College, and she encourages them to actively participate in SGA. “Students will gain so many skills and have an abundance of growth while in SGA,” she said. “If anyone thinks they may be even a little bit interested, they should come talk to us.” The Gaston College SGA office is in Room 213 of the Myers Center on the College’s Dallas campus. The phone number to reach SGA is 704-922-6472.

Gaston County Schools
celebrates Teachers of the Year


Trent Sims earns Teacher Hero of COVID-19 award

Ashbrook High School chemistry teacher Trent Sims knows that the Little Free Libraries located at schools across the county serve as “food for the soul and for the mind” for students.  But when the coronavirus pandemic hit North Carolina in March and schools were closed for in-person instruction, Sims and his wife, Katie, worried about food to fill the stomachs of students who would no longer be at school to eat in the cafeteria.
The couple jumped into action, deciding to turn the Ashbrook Little Free Library, an outdoor resource center for books, into something more.  The two went to Sam’s Club and bought as much food and snacks as they could.  Then, they filled the library with food in an effort to make it available to the community.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we realized we would be out of school for the foreseeable future,” Sims said. “My wife and I had all the resources we needed, but we realized there were students in our community who were going to struggle and that really hit home for us.”
The project gained traction around the county, and Trent and Katie were soon asking for donations and filling Little Free Libraries at Highland School of Technology and Gardner Park Elementary School.  Trent’s involvement in the project led to him being named a weekly “Teacher Hero of COVID-19,” a recognition program sponsored by FSI Office, HP, and the Carolina Panthers.
“It was a big surprise,” Sims said. “I had colleagues who nominated me and that is such an honor.  Being able to bring recognition to Ashbrook and to Gaston County is really important to me.
Sims said that he and Katie both love to read and enjoy being able to stock the Little Free Libraries with food and books.
For being nominated as a “Teacher Hero,” Sims received a large box of practical items like sanitizer, masks, and school supplies.  When he earned enough votes to be named a weekly winner, he was approached about the $1,000 prize being split up into $750 for school supplies and $250 to go toward purchasing food supplies for the libraries.  He said the decision was easy.
He also found out he would be attending a Carolina Panthers game with two free tickets.  At the game, he competed with six weekly winners and was announced as the overall winner.  This time, the honor included Panthers merchandise and another $1,000 for Ashbrook High School.
While the prizes are wonderful, the Gaston County native and Highland graduate said he has been overwhelmed by the support he has received for the project.
“It’s been amazing,” Sims said. “I’ve been getting notifications and texts and emails. I couldn’t be more thankful for my support system.”
Dr. Rebecca Wilson, principal at Ashbrook High School, said it’s been great to witness the outcome of the Little Free Libraries’ conversion to a place for free books and free food.
“Trent Sims has created a real, visible change throughout our community,” Wilson said. “Through all the difficulties our students have faced during this challenging time, they always knew the pantry would be stocked.  Mr. Sims has truly been a beacon of hope and encouragement for our students and for the community.”
And the recognition isn’t over yet.  The final prize involves the Panthers’ mascot, Sir Purr, which Sims said is generating lots of talk around school.  He said the classroom virtual visit may become a school-wide virtual visit.
Throughout the project, Sims has found it important to remind his students that the project isn’t about him, but instead it’s about making a difference when you can.
“It’s easy to sit back and let someone else do the work,” Sims said. “It can begin with me, but it shouldn’t end with me.  Pay it forward, and it comes back to you.  Our Little Free Pantry idea had a snowball effect where people were willing to step up and do the work in their community as well.  That’s what it’s all about.”

City of Lowell Briefs

New water meters
The City of Lowell will be installing new water meters for customers over the next 6 to 9 weeks. The City has created a Frequently Asked Questions page on its website to provide you more information and how this project will benefit  utility customers. http://lowellnc.com/282/New-Water-Meters-FAQ.

Fall Leaf Vacuum Schedule: October 16 - February 15
Leaves will be vacuumed if left at curb (no more than 2 ft) in a neat row. Leaves further in yard or near mailboxes will not be vacuumed. Please ensure there are no rocks, sticks, or brush mixed in with leaves.

Collecting coats
The Lowell Women’s Club is collecting new coats for kids in need at our local schools. Drop off locations are  Fryeday Coffee Roasters and  Kelly’s K-9 Kitchen, LLC.

Lowell Parks and Recreation will not be collecting coats this year but they do have available coats in their coat closet to hand out to those in need in our community. If you know someone in need, whether it’s a kid or an adult, please reach out to the Parks and Recreation Department at (704) 824-0099.

Stanley council meeting scheduled

The Town of Stanley will postpone its regular Town Council meeting scheduled for November 2, 2020 until Monday, November 9, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Town Hall Council Chamber. During this meeting, the Town Council will hold a public hearing regarding the following requests: Request for subdivision of parcel 134144 located on the corner of W Carpenter street and S Buckoak Street, Stanley.  Petition for annexation of parcels 175734, 175761, 175763, and portion of 175764, along NC 27 and Old Mt Holly Road.
The Town of Stanley will hold remote meetings during the State of Emergency that has been declared by the Governor of North Carolina in order to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Because of the risks to the public that would arise from continued in-person meetings, the Town is advising to follow the instructions for submitting the comments and remote access.
Written comments may be submitted at any time between the notice of the public hearing and 24 hours after the public hearing to staff@townofstanley.org, providing name, physical address, and phone number.  Limit your submission to a document that takes less than three minutes to read.
You can live stream the meeting by going to our Facebook page via this link https://www.facebook.com/townofstanley.
GEMS photo

Gaston Co. GEMS Training

Members of Gaston County GEMS A/B shifts recently took part in a STAR Team training exercise.  The topic was vehicle extrication and patient management. Great work by everyone! 
GEMS photos

Congratulations to GEMS Paramedics

Congratulations to GEMS Paramedics John Ashurst (left) and Travis Barnes (right) for an outstanding job at successfully resuscitating a cardiac arrest patient. For their great job they received a Code Save challenge coin to honor their achievement.

2020 Grand Prize Winner by Lila St. Romain (Youth Ages 8-12) of Gastonia, NC.

2020 Somethin’ Pumpkin winners named

The Gaston County NC Cooperative Extension Somethin’ Pumpkin contest was one of the best ever.
Youth and adults participated in this year’s event with 40 entries, which included a wide variety of creative and delicious foods. Eight contest categories included: 1) Main Dish, 2) Desserts, 3) Miscellaneous, 4) Home Grown, 5) Youth (ages 8-12): Main Dish & Miscellaneous, 6) Youth: Ages 8-12 - Desserts, 7) Youth: Ages 13-18: Main Dish & Miscellaneous, and 8) Youth: Ages 13-18: Desserts.
Through the sponsorship of the Gaston County Farm Bureau prizes were awarded in each category: 1st place - $100, 2nd place - $50, and 3rd place - $25. A grand prize of $200 was awarded to the overall contest winner.
2020 Somethin’ Pumpkin 
Cooking Contest Winners:
Main Dish 1st - Pumpkin Lasagna with Spinach: Jamie Smith; 2nd - Pumpkin Soup: Christopher Smith; 3rd - Pumpkin Potato Corn Chowder: Sandra Long.
Dessert 1st - Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream with Bourbon & Spice Praline Pecans: Jamie Smith;  2nd - Pumpkin Mousse in a Cup: Deborah Mayfield; 3rd - Pumpkin & Dulce De Leche: Maria Canseco.
Miscellaneous 1st - Comfort Pumpkin Drink: Ann Helms; 2nd - Appetizer Pumpkin Spice Latte Dip: Christopher Smith; 3rd - Vegan Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffin: Jamie Smith.
Home Grown 1st - Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread: Linda Carpenter; 2nd - Pumpkin Butter Pound Cake with Caramel Frosting: Adrienne Jones; 3rd - Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes: Addison Brown.
Youth Ages 8-12: Main Dish & Misc. 1st - Pumpkin Dip: Shannah Spargo; 2nd - Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce: Kordak Genovese.
Youth Ages 8-12: Desserts 1st - Pumpkin Everything Cake: Shannah Spargo; 2nd - Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles: Therese Eitzenberger; 3rd - Peanut Butter Pumpkin Fudge: Kordak Genovese.
Youth Ages 13-18: Dessert 1st - Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar Cookies: Kelli McGuire; 2nd - White Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles: Addison Brown; 3rd - Best Pumpkin Spice Blondies: Bronwen St. Romain.

Montcross Chamber leadership changes

Recent leadership changes at the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce position the organization to continue its record-setting growth in membership and service to members.
Chamber Board Chair Heath Jenkins announced the changes, including the recent retirement of Vice President Teresa Rankin. Rankin served in the position for 13 years.
“Teresa helped shape our Chamber into one of the fastest growing chambers in the region, stated Ted Hall, retired Montcross Area Chamber president. “Her knowledge,enthusiasm and dedication to our members have been invaluable.”
Chamber leadership promoted Member Services Director Julie Bowen to Vice President of Member Services and Events.
Said Jenkins, “Julie is a dedicated and hard-working member of our leadership team who has tremendous insight as to what it takes to continue serving our members and growing our organization.”
Long-time Chamber member and former Board Chair Paul Lowrance of McKenney Family Dealerships was named Provisional President, temporarily filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Ted Hall on June 30.
The search for a permanent president has just begun. A third staff position has been created but is not yet filled.
Jenkins added, “TheMontcross Area Chamber looks forward to the future as we continue to build bridges and tear down walls to bring people together.”
Sam Woods

Women Who Rock Award Winner: Sam Woods

Sam Woods is a Certified Medical Assistant and has been a part of the Kintegra Health family for 12 years now. Sam has never failed, or even hesitated, to join the precarious, yet critical, frontlines in the battle of preventing and protecting our communities against COVID-19. During this overwhelmingly exceptional time that we’ve all had to experience with COVID-19, and with all of the uncertainty and organized chaos that are associated with it, the fortitude, tenacity, and courage that she’s had, and continually displayed, in terms of her wide-ranging clinical knowledge, her compassion, and her ability to teach, have allowed her to excel, and even stand out in doing so, during this pandemic. For perspective, Sam has worked countless hours in helping Kintegra perform over 10,000 Covid-19 tests.
In response to all of the aforementioned, Sam was recently promoted to Clinical Support Specialist. In her new role, Sam will now be responsible for educating clinical staff and ensuring evidenced-based care throughout the Kintegra organization.
Sam serves as an active member of Gastonia’s Flynt Groves Baptist Church. She very proudly embraces her Lumbee American Indian roots, which has graciously translated into a devotion to her community, and a character well-versed in compassion, teaching, and healing. Knowing, understanding, and witnessing the talent, skill, and commitment with which she carries herself easily makes her career choice rather fateful…and a fate that has led to the improvement of the lives and health of those around her.
Sam is definitely a Woman Who Rocks and is a “rock” for others by lifting those around her in faith, culture, and health.
Not only is she a ‘Woman Who Rocks’, as far as Kintegra and Gaston County are concerned, Sam is a Rock Star.
Gaston Museum story/photo

Art Around Gaston!

This new mural at the entrance to the Mount Holly Community Garden is warm, inviting, and a celebration of nature. The Garden has over 50 plots and functions as a place for community building and education about working with the land and self-suffiency. If you have the opportunity, please visit the Garden to see both the mural and all the hard work the residents of Mount Holly have put into the land there!
Designer: Terry Rhyne
Artist: Boyce McKinney
Location: Mount Holly Community Garden
Statement of the Artist:
“Back in June of 2019, the Mount Holly Community Garden had a call for artists to submit ideas/concepts for the Community Garden mural. Myself, along with other artists, submitted ideas and concepts. The committee loved the concept that Terry Rhyne submitted. Terry was not a muralist so the committee asked if I would paint her design on the wall. Of course I had no problem at all with that. The wall is red brick. The size of the mural is 8’ x 20’. I used exterior grade Latex paint. The sunflowers on the right side are special to a family there in Mount Holly. The artichoke on the left side was painted from a photo of artichoke that was in the garden a few years back. I have been painting murals for 20+ years. My style is to be somewhat realistic. 90% of my murals are in public school systems. I learned many years ago that murals need to speak to the audience very quickly. This Mount Holly mural is bright, fun, very colorful, thought provoking, and ties into the Garden perfectly. I think Terry did a fantastic job with the design of this mural. Please visit my website at boycemckinneymurals.com.”

Belmont Festival of Trees set

Downtown Belmont and Stowe Park will once again be filled with the twinkling lights and beautiful ornaments of community decorated Christmas trees for the 3rd annual Festival of Trees. The festival kickoff will be immediately after the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 30th when participants can stroll from City Hall to Stowe Park and enjoy caroling and other special treats in the park that evening.
The Festival of Trees will run from November 30 - January 3, and is a great opportunity for the whole family to safely enjoy a holiday activity.

Turkeys needed...

Charlotte Rescue Mission needs 4,000 turkeys  for Thanksgiving meal and food boxes. Campaign dates: NOW - November 24, 2020. Drop off turkeys at Charlotte Rescue Mission – Rebound, 907 W. 1st Street, Charlotte, NC 28202. Enter through the glass doors at the 2nd building on the left.
Charlotte Rescue Mission provides a free, 120-day Christian residential program for men and women who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and are predominantly homeless. For more information, visit www.charlotterescuemission.org or call 704-333-HOPE (4673). Contact: Rev. Tony Marciano
Tony.marciano@charlotterescuemission.org Cell: 704.806.4693.

Hood Memorial AME Zion BBQ sale

Hood Memorial AME Zion Church, 613 N. Main St., Belmont, will be having a BBQ sale on Friday, Nov. 6, from 10am to 7pm. Port-A-Pit will be preparing ½ chicken or five smoked ribs with beans, cole slaw, rolls, and dessert. Plates are $14  for ribs and $10  for chicken carry out only, Free delivery for five or more orders. Contact any member of Hood Memorial to pre-order. Call 980-283-7007 or message at hoodmemorial215.wixsite.com.

Queen of Apostles Thanksgiving lunch

The members of Queen of the Apostles Church, 503 N. Main St in Belmont, will continue our custom of providing a  Thanksgiving Meal. Due to the Coronavirus, this year we will offer a meal kit to those needing to prepare a Thanksgiving meal at their homes. The meal kit will feed 4 people and will include a $15 gift card that can be used towards the purchase of a turkey or ham.
We can deliver a meal kit to your home on Saturday, November 21st, or you can pick up a meal kit at the church on the same day between 10am and 12 Noon. To place your order, you have 2 options:
1. Call the church office to place your order. The  phone number is (704) 825-9600.  Give us your name, address, phone number, an email address if you have one, and the number of meal kits you need (maximum of 2).  The deadline to place your order is Thursday, November 12th.
2. Go to the church’s web site, www.queenoftheapostles.org, look for the “Thanksgiving Meal Order Kit” slide and click there.  That will take you to the on-line order form. Be sure to indicate on the order form if you want your meal kit delivered to your home or if you will pick it up.

Fifth confirmed rabies case of 2020

On Tuesday October 6, 2020 at approximately 3:49pm Gaston County Police Animal Care and Enforcement received a call from the 100 block of Lewis Lake Road Bessemer City, NC 28016.  The call was reference to a possible rabid animal.  Two family dogs killed a skunk.   
Animal Care and Enforcement Specialists investigated the incident.  The deceased skunk was sent to the NC Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh.  On Thursday October 8, 2020 the skunk specimen tested positive for rabies.
Two Labrador mix dogs, one male and one female, were up to date on their required rabies vaccinations and received a rabies booster shot within 96 hours of the exposure.
Animal Care and Enforcement completed a neighborhood canvass in the area of Lewis Lake Road, Bessemer City, NC to notify the community of the positive rabies results and verify rabies vaccinations for family animals in the area.
Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement also notified Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services for their regular follow up investigation.
The Gaston County Police Department Animal Care and Enforcement unit stresses the importance of having a valid rabies vaccination for all of your pet’s health and safety as well as the health and safety of animal owners and community.
This represents the fifth confirmed rabies case in Gaston County this year. No further information is available at this time.

Crowders Mountain cleanup day planned

(October 29, 2020 Issue)

The Friends of Crowders Mountain invites volunteers to join them for trail work or litter pick up on Saturday, November 7.  Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Sparrow Springs Visitor Center, 522 Park Office Lane, Kings Mountain, NC.  Work will end by noon.  Tools, safety glasses, insect repellant, drinks, and snacks will be provided. Bring your own work gloves and mask,  dress appropriately for outdoor work and bring any necessary medications.  Trailwork days are weather dependent. If questions, Call 704-853-5375.  To learn more check out friendsofcrowders.com or facebook.com/FriendsOfCrowdersMtn.

Hood Memorial AME Zion BBQ sale

Hood Memorial AME Zion Church, 613 N. Main St., Belmont, will be having a BBQ sale on Friday, Nov. 6, from 10am to 7pm. Port-A-Pit will be preparing ½ chicken or five smoked ribs with beans, cole slaw, rolls, and dessert. Plates are $14  carry out only, Free delivery for five or more orders. Contact any member of Hood Memorial to pre-order. Call 980-283-7007 or message at hoodmemorial215.wixsite.com.
(October 29, 2020 Issue)

Julia Armstrong was recently named Manager of the Year by GEM Management for the great job she does  managing the Myrtle Terrace Apartments in Belmont. Armstrong was selected out of 262 candidates following recommendation from her supervisor Deb Pantoroi and Myrtle Terrace residents.  Armstrong has led the way at Myrtle Terrace for six years. She’s seen with several of the residents.     
Photo by Bill Ward

Humanity House ground breaking

(October 29, 2020 Issue)

Ground was broken last week on a new Habitat for Humanity house at 111 Farmington Dr. in Stanley. Folks staffing the shovels at the event included Joyce Womic, Karen Womic, Kaden Caldwell, Desjiah Coulter (homeowner), Dr. Rev. Claude Williams, and Rev. Kelly Farmer.


Congratulations to Jean Norkett!

(October 29, 2020)

Congratulations to GEMS Admin. Support Spec. Jean Norkett, on her 30 years of dedicated service to Gaston County EMS. Jean joined the organization as an EMT-Intermediate. She spent seven years working on the ambulance and then transitioned into the billing department.



(October 29, 2020)

Folks driving down New Hope Rd. near Cramerton have been doing double takes at this display of flags and message placed  in a field by Allen McCuen. The flags represent a variety of armed forces, first responders and other patriotic themes.

Photo by Alan Hodge

President Trump Visits Gaston County

(October 29, 2020 Issue)

U.S. President Donald Trump visited Gaston County last week and held a rally at the Gastonia airport. Estimates are that over 20,000 people attended the event.
Photos by Bill Ward


Community Briefs

(October 29, 2020)

Stanley has changed Senior Christmas Dinner scenario

The Town of Stanley was going to cancel its yearly Senior Christmas Dinner this year .. but the good news is, Stanley Parks and Recreation has come up with a way to still have it.  It will be pick up or   delivery to your house. Dec 19th .. between 4;30 -6:30. You can call Town Hall at 704-263-4779 and put your name on the list or contact Parks and Rec. director Tug Deason. Deadline to register is Dec 12th.

Christmas parades called off
Due to COVID19 concerns, the annual Christmas parades in Stanley, Cramerton, and Mt. Holly have been called off.

Gaston County Parks and Recreation news
Halloween Drive-In Bingo

Join Gaston County Parks and Rec. for a Halloween Drive-In Bingo Friday, October 30th at 6pm. Dress in your best costumes and decorate your vehicles to enter a raffle for a prize. Parking lot will OPEN at 5:35 - NO EARLIER - at Dallas Park in the parking lot in at the end of Leisure Lane, between the two lakes. Anna’s Sweet Treats will be here for all of your snack needs. Two Bingo cards per car per game. Prize baskets full of donations from local businesses. Fun for ALL AGES! This is a FREE EVENT.
Fall Video Challenge
Take a fun short video of your visit at one of the Gaston County Parks, from now until November 20th. BE CREATIVE!  Submit videos to spencer.hall@gastongov.com. The top 10 videos will be voted on to determine first place. All participants will receive a prize! All videos must abide by our Park Ordinance (found on website). By submitting a video, you agree to allow the video to be displayed on our Facebook account.
Veteran’s Tribute Breakfast

Gaston County Senior Center’s DRIVE-IN Veteran’s Tribute Breakfast will be  held Friday, November 6th, 2020, 10:00AM. Please RSVP by October 30th. To register please call 704-922-2170. 1303 Dallas Cherryville Hwy., Dallas, NC in the Senior Center parking lot. Honoring All Who Have Served. Everyone is invited to come support our Veteran’s and their families.

Dia de Muertos event planned

The Gaston County Museum is hosting its second annual celebration of Día de Muertos virtually. Starting Saturday, October 31 through Monday, November 2 the museum’s website will host a dedicated page for the holiday.
 Spotlighting arts, history, and Latinx culture, the Gaston County Museum has worked with a dedicated panel to provide a free and accessible resource for Día de Muertos 2020. This year you can virtually learn about the history Día de Muertos, enjoy videos of music and dancing, and even collect a new recipe for a delicious treat.
 Visit gastoncountymuseum.org and follow the ‘Día de Muertos’ link under “Learn” to experience the multi-day festival in a brand new way.
For more information, contact the museum at (704) 922-7681 or email  Patrick Stepp at patrick.stepp@gastongov.com.

Celebration of Arts in Education Week 2020

In celebration of Arts in Education Week 2020, Belmont Middle School collaborated on this butterfly mobile art piece. The Arts create hope, connect us, and bring joy, especially during these challenging times. The 568 butterflies were made by BMS students and staff and are written with the hopes they have for themselves, their families, our school, our community, the country, and the world. 

StoryWalk is now open
(October 22, 20202 Issue)

The StoryWalk is now open at Tuckaseege Park. Co-sponsored by Mt. Holly Branch Library, Lowe’s Home Improvement and the City of Mount Holly, this family-free event is the perfect way to enjoy the fall weather while getting some exercise. Begin at the Carolina Thread Trail sign near the restrooms and you’ll end up by the playground after reading a children’s book along the way.

Mt. Holly CRO news briefs
(October 22, 2020 Issue)

Help the Mt. Holly Community Relief Organization make Thanksgiving dinner possible.
Through Nov. 2nd, CRO is taking names and phone numbers from community members who need help with this special family meal. The only way to get on this list is to call the CRO directly.
Would you like to sponsor a family meal?
If you, your civic group, church group, or business would like to sponsor a family, please send a message through the CRO Facebook page or to info@cro-mtholly.org. Include your (or your group’s) name and how many meals you are willing to sponsor. CRO will respond with all of the information you need to shop for your sponsored family, as well as the drop-off date and location (the CRO is only collecting names this year). If you prefer, you can provide a financial donation in person or online (select “General” and note “Thanksgiving” in the memo).
COVID-19 Operational Updates
CRO will continue to maintain our COVID-19 operational adjustments through 2020. Once you arrive, please stay with your vehicle until a volunteer can sign you in. If you are bringing a donation, CRO will be able to collect it outside. CRO is are committed to serving our community while also keeping our clients, volunteers, and staff safe. Clients need to sign in by 11:45 a.m.
Current Needs - Urgent Needs- canned veggies of all sorts, spaghetti noodles and sauce, canned pasta (i.e. raviolis, beefaroni), toilet paper, soap, other basic toiletries.
Community Fire Dept. Halloween event

Community Fire Dept. Halloween event
(October 22, 2020 Issue)


There will be a “Drive-Thru Trick or Treat “ at Community Fire Department, 1873 Perfection Avenue, North Belmont on Saturday, October 31st  from 2 pm-4 pm.
Put on your costume, pull up, scream trick or treat , get your treat and roll out! Here’s how it will work.
Simply pull through in your car and (to keep everyone safe) volunteers will be wearing masks and dropping candy directly into your Halloween bag, avoiding any physical contact.
COVID-19 Guidelines- Children and adults will need to stay in cars.

Jackson of Belmont named to spring 2020 dean’s list

Ethan Jackson of Belmont, North Carolina is among the nearly 1,000 Citadel cadets and students recognized for their academic achievements during the spring 2020 semester.
Recognizing the academic successes of Citadel cadets and students is a special tradition each semester, even one as atypical as this. But these cadets and students earned their grades in unique circumstances and were able to focus on their studies while transitioning to virtual learning in March 2020.
The dean’s list is a recognition given to cadets and students who are registered for 12 or more semester hours and whose grade point average is 3.20 or higher, with no grade of I (Incomplete) and no grade below C for work in a semester.